IT WAS the House of Cards without the Joker at Prime Minister’s Questions, as Boris Johnson was away amusing the lieges in yonder Europe.

That doesn’t mean the others don’t know how to have fun. Indeed, at one point, Tory stand-in Dominic Raab winked at his Labour opposite number. Angela Rayner, for her part, aware of Dominic’s prowess in karate, took to the floor wearing kung fu panda heels.

Oh, she had jing in her bo and zing in her zhang, as she prepared to tell the Tories’ Mr Miyagi to wax off. But Mr Miraabi was up for the fight, his obi tied tight, his kiba dachi strong, as he prepared to deploy his waza.

Initial probing for weakness in the ensuing sparring saw each fighter accuse the other of wanting their respective leaders to sling their hook. After two by-election defeats in one day, said Ms Rayner, it was no wonder the PM had fled the country, leaving Mr Raab – she gestured to her opponent dismissively – “to carry the can”.

Said Dom: “I gently” – steady, tiger – “point out to her that we want this Prime Minister to go on a lot longer than she wants the leader of the Labour Party to go on.”

Angela parried by saying that, truly, she did not want her man to go on as leader of the opposition but to be – here she leaned forward, smiling wickedly as she jabbed her deadly fingers – “the Prime Minister of this country.”

The tussle shifted to who was the peasantry’s best ally. Angela accused Dom of pretending to empathise with the struggling masses when he’d once said food bank users simply had “a cash flow problem”.

Dom lunged back, accusing Angela of flip-flopping over the rail strike and averring that, for all her talk of the workers – it was at this point that he deployed his wink – rather than stand with the comrades on the picket line recently, she’d been “at the Glyndebourne music festival, sipping champagne listening to opera. Champagne socialism is back in the Labour Party!”

Ouchy. Not even stopping to apply Tiger Balm to that nasty wound, Ange hit back by claiming that said much about the Tories – presumably meaning proles don’t do high culture – and quoting one Tory MP that the PM’s hopelessness was obvious to “anyone with half a brain”, which seemed cerebrally unambitious.

While these two kicked lumps out of each other, Ian Murray, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland (chosen from a crowded field of one Scottish Labour MP – him), sat ringside shouting the odds.

The Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, had to intervene: “Mr Murray! We’ve had questions already for Scotland. It’s not continued. It’s not your debate.” He was referring to Scottish Questions, a sublime waste of time, at the tailend of which I just caught one English Tory backbencher bleating on about “separatism”.

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader and official spokesman for “the Scottish people”, said Scotia was paying the price for not being independent, what with Brexit and austerity. With consummate cheek, he asked England’s top Dom to “make the case for continued Westminster rule”.

Boris usually titters at the Scottish people’s Ian, but Mr R made the mistake of taking Mr B seriously, with some stock bilge about the two countries working together.

Ian said this proved there was “no case for the Union” and that the UK Government had “simply run out of ideas to defend the failing Westminster system.”

Big Raab, as he’d be known in Scotland, said Ian was “rather airbrushing history with that long soliloquy”, before adducing various SNP failings, such as presiding over a drugs problem of the sort rife among subjugated aboriginal peoples everywhere.

I was hoping Ian might have riposted with Renton’s soliloquy from Trainspotting, telling the House: “It’s sh*** being Scottish. We’re … the most wretched, miserable, pathetic trash that was every sh*t into civilisation.” He didn’t even complain about being colonised by “effete ar**holes”. A missed opportunity.

Patricia Gibson (SNP) didn’t miss when she outlined Scotland’s assets: “a third of Britain’s landmass, half its territorial waters, over 60% of UK fishing zones, 98% of oil reserves, 63% of natural gas, a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resources, and 90% of the UK’s fresh water”.

With that in mind, could Big Raab explain “if his opposition to Scottish independence is because he fears the loss of these invaluable resources?”

Said Dom: “She’s absolutely right in what she just said. There are huge assets across Scotland, and that’s why we think we’re stronger together.”

We’ll take that as a yes then.